Elementary ed. majors react to Conn. shooting

Sarah Stukenborg

The shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut Friday not only brought sadness to the hearts of many U.S. citizens, but also raised issues on school safety and gun control in our country — and the tragedy has affected WKU students too.

WKU students who are planning to go into elementary education have their own opinions on what has been dubbed one of the largest school massacres in the United States.

The shooter killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. before taking his own life. Of those victims, 20 were children. The shooter’s mother was also found dead at her home, and police believe he killed her, according to CNN.

Louisville junior Jessica Bizianes is currently majoring in elementary education at WKU and plans on completing a master’s program in special education as well. She said she decided to major in elementary education because she wants to make a difference in children’s lives.

“I’ve come so far, and it has all been because of my teachers,” Bizianes said.

Although the shooting may have caused some elementary education majors to reconsider their chosen profession, Bizianes said she has never questioned her desire to teach, and she recognizes what kind of responsibility teachers undertake.

“There are always risks,” Bizianes said. “Some schools need to think about safety precautions more.”

The Sandy Hook shooting hasn’t swayed Glasgow freshman Stephanie Walton’s desire to be a teacher, either. Walton decided to become a teacher so she could impact children’s lives by giving them the care and attention they need.

“I would say that if anything, the shooting in Connecticut only reaffirms my belief that kids need someone that is warm and kind to make them feel safe and excited to be at school,” Walton said in an email. “I think that people who truly want to be teachers sign up for the job acknowledging that they are taking on the responsibility for the well-being of all the children in the classroom.”

While the shooting has brought up a lot of discussion about improving school security, the subject of gun control has also been addressed. There are many different beliefs regarding gun usage laws in the U.S and whether or not they should be stricter.

Bizianes said it was a tough decision because she believes everyone should have the right to protect themselves, but she thinks it should be harder for people to get access to guns.

Walton doesn’t think stricter gun control laws would be much more effective.

“Gun control laws keep the law obeying citizens in check, and the effectiveness ends there,” Walton said. “If criminals really cared about obeying the laws, they wouldn’t be criminals; so what good would come from stricter gun control laws?”